New outside recreation coalition unveiled for Pennsylvania | Coronavirus


State officials Wednesday unveiled the new Recreation Engagement Coalition of 50 people from across the state and the full spectrum of outdoor recreation as outdoor recreation grows in Pennsylvania.

“We’re here to harness outdoor recreation for Pennsylvania,” said Nathan Reigner, director of outdoor recreation for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The state already has a strong base to build on, according to Michael Hanna Jr., executive deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. He said outdoor recreation adds $12 billion in value to Pennsylvania’s economy annually and 150,000 full-time jobs, which accounts for about 1.5 percent of the Commonwealth’s GDP.

He noted that the financial engine of outdoor recreation is particularly important for many of the state’s rural areas.

Pennsylvania’s reputation as an outdoor recreation state also plays a role in employers’ decisions about where to locate or relocate their facilities and the employment they bring, Hanna said, pointing to a warehouse built by outdoor retailer REI in Bedford, in part because of “an alignment between their brand and outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania.”

In addition, DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said, “We have seen tremendous interest in outdoor recreation as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, as people increasingly appreciate the role it plays in more than just our health and well-being , but also for the economy of our Commonwealth. At the heart of our priorities is ensuring that all Pennsylvanians benefit from outdoor recreation.

The coalition, announced Wednesday, is part of DCNR’s effort for Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania. The 50 members will be primary advisors in establishing the State Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.

Outdoor recreation contributes nearly $60 billion annually, according to the new study: “Public land is at the heart of outdoor recreation, which is why it is vital that DCNR remains focused on strategic growth and coordination to ensure.” that nature is welcoming and accessible to all Pennsylvanians and visitors,” Regner said.

Among the coalition members are two other state agencies with large land holdings in the state, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Other organizations represented range from the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and Keystone Trails Association to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and York County Economic Alliance to snack food manufacturers and whitewater rafting companies.

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